Green power and electric vehicle charging stations

Whilst we have commented on the benefits of electric
vehicles on the Wayfinding Forum for some time, recent studies are muddying the
waters as to the effectiveness of the technology.

Car maker Audi has examined the energy output of
the entire chain of powering the vehicles – from power station to the car’s
emissions – a lifestyle assessment – and found that in countries with a
significant percentage of power created by coal generators, the emissions
created by the coal generators significantly offset the benefits of the EV

While Australia was not part of the study, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, more than 77
per cent of our power is generated by brown and back coal – meaning an EV faces
similar issues here. Taking into account the CO2 emissions in the
production of the electricity, the end-to-end emissions are significantly worse
than for virtually any orthodox mini-car and undercuts Australia’s biggest
seller, the Mazda3 hatchback, by only 10 grams of CO2 per km.

The Life Cycle Assessment was presented by Audi at
the launch of its balanced mobility environmental strategy in Germany last
week. The luxury brand wants its vehicles to become CO2 neutral. 

Meanwhile in the US, Oakland International Airport
has recently installed 15 charging stations to accommodate EV-driving travelers.
The chargers are located in the self-serve lot, where the daily parking rate is

With most EVs having a range of less than 100
miles, greater uptake of the vehicles will lead to increased demand for  charging stations at such facilities as
airports, where many vehicles spend extended periods of time. Airports and
other parking areas offering charging stations will expected to eventually
charge for the electricity.

John Van Horn, who publishes Parking Today, has challenged the use of federal
money to create an infrastructure for private enterprise. “I believe the market
should be allowed to work. If people decide to buy electrical vehicles, there
will be a plug on every corner. But the idea of the government driving the
process is just frustrating.”

As the EV technology rapidly takes off, there are
still a number of challenges to ensuring that the technology is realising the
full potential in terms of infrastructure, as well as the total environmental
impact of the vehicles.

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